[ klahy-tel-uh m ]
/ klaɪˈtɛl əm /

noun, plural cli·tel·la [klahy-tel-uh] /klaɪˈtɛl ə/.

a ring or saddle-shaped region of glandular tissue in the body wall of certain annelids, as earthworms and some leeches, that after copulation secretes a cocoon in which the eggs and sperm are deposited for fertilization and development.

Nearby words

  1. clistocarp,
  2. clistocarpous,
  3. clistothecium,
  4. clit,
  5. clite,
  6. clithral,
  7. clithrophobia,
  8. clitic,
  9. cliticize,
  10. clitoral

Origin of clitellum

1830–40; < New Latin, neuter noun based on Latin clītellae packsaddle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for clitella


/ (klɪˈtɛləm) /

noun plural -la (-lə)

a thickened saddle-like region of epidermis in earthworms and leeches whose secretions bind copulating worms together and later form a cocoon around the eggs

Word Origin for clitellum

C19: from New Latin, from Latin clītellae (plural) packsaddle

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for clitella



"raised band around an earthworm," 1816, Modern Latin, from Latin clitellae "a pack-saddle," diminutive of *clitra "litter," from PIE *klei-tro-, from root *klei- (see lean (v.)). Related: Clitellar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper